Haaj to mantoo: Masa

I first had Afghan food about a year ago at Khyber Pass in NYC's East Village.  I distinctly remember being introduced to the savory mantoo and have been craving it since.

Last weekend on a cold cloudy sunday, we decided to venture to Masa in Harrow and Wealdstone, which is about 45 min from central London.  It was a journey getting there and involved traveling the entire bakerloo line and taking the overground for the first time.  I have no problem traveling for good food, and when we sat down to eat, it was all worth it.

First up was the grilled aubergine in thick yogurt sauce.  Although this was not exactly what I'd expected, it was every bit as good.  The aubergine was soft and tender and piled over tangy thick yogurt with lots of garlic and walnuts in it.  It was served with warm naan bread, which was different from traditional Indian style naan in that it was a bit thinner and not nearly as buttery - all good things!

Next up, we tried a single grilled lamb and the much anticipated mantoo.  The lamb was grilled really nicely, and although it lacked the intense flavor of the much loved Tayyab's lamb, it was succulent and smoky.  Of course the mantoo was amazing, because how can anything that's meat wrapped in carbs not be good?  It's basically Afghan ravioli, stuffed with minced lamb and topped with more minced lamb and yogurt sauce.  Imagine italian ravioli, or chinese dumplings, wrapped with filling, and then topped with more filling...why not.

As if this was not enough food, we also ordered the sabzi challow with lamb.  The lamb was cooked tender and not too gamey, and served in a rich sauce with alot of spinach.  It also comes with a huge serving of the most addicting basmati rice ever, seriously addicting. 

This was completely worth the long journey there and was so much food we ended up with leftovers for the next day.  To top it off this cost us about £30 including service.  And as for drinks, it's byo!
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